Implementation intentions and the willful pursuit of prosocial goals in negotiations

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Three studies examined whether the self-regulation strategy of forming implementation intentions (i.e., if-then plans) facilitates the attainment of prosocial goals when a limited resource is to be distributed between two parties who hold adverse cognitive orientations. In three experiments, pairs of negotiators were assigned prosocial goals that either had to be supplemented with plans (if-then plans, Gollwitzer, 1999) on how to act on these goals or not. Experiment 1 used a mixed-frames negotiation paradigm in which one negotiation partner operated on a gain-frame, the other on a loss-frame. When participants had the prosocial goal to find fair agreements and furnished it with a respective if-then plan, unfair agreements in favor of the loss-frame negotiator no longer occurred. Experiment 2 used a same-frame negotiation paradigm, where both negotiation partners had either a loss or a gain-frame. When loss-frame pairs had furnished their prosocial goals to cooperate with the negotiation partner with a respective if-then plan, reduced profits as compared to gain-frame pairs of negotiators were no longer observed. In addition, negotiators who had formed implementation intentions were more likely to use the integrative negotiation strategy of logrolling (i.e., making greater concessions on low rather than high priority issues). Experiment 3 used a computer-mediated negotiation task in order to analyze the effects of prosocial goals and respective implementation intentions on the course of the negotiation. Again, implementation intentions facilitated the pursuit of prosocial goals in the face of adversity (i.e., loss frames) by use of the integrative negotiation strategy of logrolling. The present research adds a self-regulation perspective to the research on negotiation by pointing out that the effects of negotiation goals can be enhanced by furnishing them with respective plans (i.e., implementation intentions).
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)579-598
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 07.2007
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Psychology - self regulation, negotiation social values, cooperation, cognitive barriers